08 February 2010


Definition:  An undertaking of a questionable nature, especially one involving intervention in another state's affairs

A week ago Sunday I had the immense priviledge of sharing about my upcoming trip to Cambodia during the service at my church.  I was asked by someone who wasn't there to post  what I had shared.  Here's the meat of it, with a few additional details...

The Challenge
So, you may ask, how did a forty-something widow with two children find herself going to Cambodia?

A little less than a year ago, while in Vancouver on business, I attended a medical students Bible Study with my brother, a lawyer. Also attending the evening was a doctor, about my age, who spends 9 months of the year in providing medical care in Africa.

My brother said to me, “You should go talk to ******.  You’ve been to Africa and I hear he’s looking for a wife.”

My immediate response was “I’m not looking for a husband and I can’t go to Africa because I have responsibilities.”

Jonathan shot back, “That sounds like an excuse. Have you ever considered that you have a responsibility to model Christian compassion for the concerns of the world to your children?”

I took that remark and pondered it. Then, I turned it into a prayer. I asked the Lord, that if He wanted me to go overseas in some capacity, to do the following:

Item #1: 
Provide somewhere for my children to go while I am gone
Jared attends high school in Vancouver and before he had even started there, the 2010 Winter Olympiad had been awarded to the city.  This resulted in a postponement of his winter break until April 2010.  God specializes in advanced planning and can even use VANOC as one of His instruments.  And what boy who loves things like snowboarding & hockey wouldn't love the adventure of an Olympic Games?

While attending a different school last year, my daughter had befriended an exchange student from Germany. She kept telling me that Sandra wanted her to come and visit but until I received an invitation from Sandra's mother, it wasn't something I was going to consider. Well, in September I got an email from her mother inviting Ashley to come and visit during the March Break. I had enough airmiles to book the ticket and Ashley wasn't too concerned at the prospect of changing planes in Munich and Heathrow.  That in itself could prove to be an adventure!

The prospect of some free time made me contemplate having an adventure of my own, something I haven't had for a very long time.  The first destination to be considered was London, England, one of my favourite cities, but I have been there many times.  Not much of an adventure.

I began to ponder where else I'd like to go and came up with Rome, a place I missed during my sprint through Italy a couple of decades ago.  So, given that Rome is my brother's favourite city, I consulted him on where to stay, where to eat, etc., and before you knew it, it was all coming together, including a travel partner.  But the partner had to pull out and I decided to go by myself anyways and, having yet more points, booked the flight, secured lodging and contacted the Vatican Department of Excavations to reserve my tour of the crypt suspected to be that of the Apostle Peter.

My adventure was just around the corner!  I hadn't really started to consider that God was beginning to work here.

Item #2:
Provide the opportunity without me looking for it
When my travel partner pulled out, it was because of a work commitment...she had to travel to Southeast Asia, and more specifically, to Cambodia. She had, at the time, said "why don't you come with me?" but I wasn't really so sure about that. Then, I heard Brian McConaghey, of Ratanak Foundation speak. In a word, I was moved. In a way I have never been moved before. But not moved so much to go.  I had a different kind of adventure in mind...I had bought the walking tour guide books, was learning a few handy Italian phrases...art & culture awaited!
When I booked my ticket to Rome, my friend was a bit quizzical. For me the big issue here was that I didn't really know what I would be doing if I went with her.  Maybe I wasn't as adventurous as I had thought.

She emailed me in the late fall. "I want you to come..."

It was like a thunderous echo from heaven "...not that adventure...this one..."

I started to wonder...

Item #3:
Provide something outside the scope of my abilities
"...and do a business analysis..."  was the next part of the sentence.  Now, my scope of experience is healthcare and software development.  I have done many needs analyses over the years in terms of clinical documentation; I have created voluminous project plans and complex design specifications.  But never have I done anything with retail business requirements.

And yet, nagging in the back of my mind was the comment made by Brian McConaghey that God doesn't always use what we bring to the table in terms of our skills, gifts & abilities but rather chooses to work through our weaknesses for the purpose of His greater glory.

Helplessness and terror began to set in.  But I couldn't ignore it--this was exactly what I had prayed for.  So,  I changed my ticket.  For a different kind of adventure, one that involves the unknown, but has been planned before the mists of time by He Who Knows All.

Now What?
I have gotten a new passport & started my vaccinations; initiated a police check; saved my money; discussed the trip with the leadership at church.  In three weeks, I will get on a plane and fly to Hong Kong, where I will connect to Phnom Penh.  I will then embark on what I can only imagine to be life-changing, and in ways I can't even begin to fathom.

While I am there, I will be working with another business woman from Cambridge to review processes at an NGO associated with Ratanak, Daughters of Cambodia, that provides employment and restorative services to young women who have been freed from the brothels, those dark pits of depravity that destroy the souls of both patrons and slaves.  I will be participating in Kingdom-building in both the national & spiritual senses...assisting (in a very small way) to restore Cambodian society and being the servant of the King of Kings as He goes about introducing Himself to those He has chosen to be citizens of Heaven.

So, pray for me in the following areas:
  • spiritual protection & growth
  • a lessening of self & increasing dependence on Him
  • emotional well-being
  • safety in travelling for both me & Ashley, as we go to our separate destinations
Rome is the Eternal City.  It will always be there and if I choose it over this, I will always wonder about the "road less travelled".  But more importantly, God will accomplish His purposes without me.  And that's not a place I want to be.

Let His adventure begin...